If you’re making pesto and you’ve run out of Parmesan cheese, don’t worry – there are plenty of great substitutes you can use instead. While Parmesan cheese is a traditional ingredient in pesto, it’s not essential to the recipe. In fact, many pesto recipes don’t call for any cheese at all.

Here are some great substitutes for Parmesan cheese in pesto:

1. Pecorino Romano Cheese
Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese that’s made from sheep’s milk.

It has a similar flavor profile to Parmesan cheese but with a sharper and saltier taste. It’s also a bit tangier than Parmesan, which can add a nice depth of flavor to your pesto.

2. Asiago Cheese
Asiago is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that’s similar to Parmesan but with a slightly milder flavor. It has a nutty taste and can be used in place of Parmesan in many recipes, including pesto.

3. Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano is another hard Italian cheese that’s made from cow’s milk. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and can be used as a substitute for Parmesan in pesto or other recipes.

4. Nutritional Yeast
If you’re looking for a vegan or dairy-free substitute for Parmesan cheese in your pesto, nutritional yeast is an excellent option. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor and can be sprinkled over pasta dishes or added to sauces like pesto.

When making your substitute choice keep in mind that the type of nuts and herbs used in your pesto recipe will also affect the overall flavor profile of the dish.

Here are some tips on how to make sure your substitute works well in your pesto:

  • Use a hard, salty cheese like Pecorino Romano or Asiago.
  • Choose a cheese with a nutty, sweet flavor like Grana Padano.
  • If you’re vegan or dairy-free, try using nutritional yeast instead of cheese.


While Parmesan cheese is a traditional ingredient in pesto, there are plenty of great substitutes you can use if you’ve run out. Pecorino Romano, Asiago, and Grana Padano are all excellent options if you’re looking for a cheesy substitute, while nutritional yeast is perfect for those who are vegan or dairy-free. No matter which substitute you choose, make sure to taste your pesto as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed to get the perfect flavor.